Changes to the assets test for pensioners - are you prepared?

From 1 January 2017, changes to the Centrelink assets test may affect your Government Age Pension payment.

These changes include an increase to the assets test thresholds and the assets test taper rate.

What this means for you

1. You can own more assets before they affect your pension

Currently, for a full Government Age Pension, a single home-owner can own no more than $205,500 in assets (excluding their home), while a couple (home-owners) can own no more than $291,500 in assets (excluding their home).

From 1 January 2017, the assets-test-free threshold increases to $250,000 (for a single home-owner) and $375,000 (for a couple who are home-owners).

Non home-owner limits have also changed. Please refer to the table below.

2. An increase in the assets test taper rate could reduce your pension

From 1 January 2017, Centrelink will reduce your pension by $3 (up from $1.50) each fortnight for every $1,000 of assets you own over the assets-test-free threshold.

The increased assets test taper rate reduces the cut-out point (the asset limit for a part pension). Refer to the table below for details.

The actual impact of these changes will depend on your relationship status, home-owner status and whether you’re assets tested or income tested.

 CurrentEffective 1 January 2017
ThresholdCut-out pointThreshold

Cut-out point

SingleHomeowner$205,500$783,500$250,000$547,000
Non home owner$354,500$932,500$450,000$747,000
CoupleHome owner$291,500$1,163,000$375,000$823,000
Non home owner$440,500$1,312,000$575,000$1,023,000
 Assets above the threshold reduce pension at $1.50 per fortnight per $1,000Assets above the threshold reduce pension at $3.00 per fortnight per $1,000

Need more information?
If you require specific advice on your own situation, please call us on 1300 130 780 and ask to speak to one of our financial advisers.